Category Archives: For Restaurants

Growing Grains Locally

One Monadnock Member chef asked about local grains – and we want to ask you: Are there any Monadnock Region farmers experimenting with growing grains?

Farms Outside Our Region Growing Grains:

Interested In Growing Grains? 

2nd Annual Dine Out for Farms™ Week to Take Place Oct. 16-22

CONTACT: Jennifer Morrill at 202-378-1255, jmorrill@farmland.org

Restaurants across the country eager to show their support for local farms and food have begun enrolling in American Farmland Trust’s 2nd annual Dine Out for Farms™ event, which will take place October 16-22, 2011.

Dine Out for Farms™ is a national, weeklong event that brings together restaurants and consumers to support a sustainable future for America’s farms. Participating restaurants educate their customers about the importance of farms, while raising funds to protect farmland from sprawling development.

“We’re thrilled that restaurants across America are showing their commitment to local farms and ranches by participating in Dine Out for Farms™,” said Jane Kirchner, senior director of Marketing and Communications for American Farmland Trust.  “Many chefs and restaurant owners get it that protecting local farms is key to serving up the delicious, locally grown foods that customers crave.  Saving farms is a cause that everyone in the restaurant industry can get behind.”

Restaurants can participate in Dine Out for Farms™ with a special dish, by donating a percentage of sales, or by making a straight donation. Participants receive a suite of educational materials that encourage consumers to dine out often and make a difference.

To date, seven restaurants that participated in last year’s inaugural Dine Out for Farms™ have re-enrolled, including The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, VA; Cock & Bowl in Occoquan, VA; The Supper Club Greensburg Train Station in Greensburg, PA; Ray’s Boathouse Café and Catering in in Seattle, WA; Full Circle Catering in Lexington, VA; The Sheppard Inn in Hanover, PA; and Founding Farmers in Washington, DC.

Restaurants interested in learning more about Dine Out for Farms™ can go to www.farmland.org/dineout and click on “enroll” or contact Gretchen Hoffman at 202-378-1251 or ghoffman@farmland.org.Individuals interested in recruiting their favorite farm-friendly restaurant for Dine Out for Farms™ can click on “get involved.”

When eating out, do you know where your food comes from? Real Time Farms does.

Eat Out With Confidence: Nationwide Launch of Tools That Tell The Story of Every Ingredient

Posted on May 9, 2011 by cararosaen

“There’s Michelin and there’s Zagat. Neither of them tell you where your food is coming from. Real Time Farms does.

Now any eatery (from the hipster food truck to the dorm food menus of your alma mater) can tell the story of the farms and food artisans that supply their menu. Curious how the beef in your favorite dive bar hamburger was raised. Click on “hamburger” and see pictures of the cow in the pasture and read about how the cow was raised. Feeling good about what you are eating just got a whole lot simpler.”

Read more… Real Time Farms blog

Interested in joining the movement to increase transparency about where your food is coming from?  Contact Real Time Farms and become a member!

Here’s how:   Become a Member

We Feel Inspired

By Jen Risley

We feel inspired – inspired by you: the eaters of the Monadnock Region.  Three-quarters of you answered our 2010 survey and said supporting local businesses and agriculture is very important to you.  This inspired us to move forward with a program that will empower you to put your money where your mouth is: The Monadnock Menus Program.

The Monadnock Menus Program has a full plate of goals – to create a community where local food is easy to find, increase the number of restaurants and cafeterias serving local food, and encourage more of us to choose local food wherever we happen to eat.  As we develop this program we glean ideas and resources from other programs such as the Vermont Fresh Network, New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection, and Monadnock Matchmaker Event.

Vermont Fresh Network
Founded in 1995, the Vermont Fresh Network (VFN) brings farmers, food producers and chefs together and encourages them to build partnerships.  Participants throughout the state join by making a “handshake agreement” to buy from or sell to a number of VFN members on a regular basis. VFN then fosters these relationships by creating materials to help eaters identify members (a dining guide and window decal), hosting dinners at member restaurants to showcase farmer-chef connections, and offering a Matchmaker Event to introduce more wholesale buyers and sellers to one another.

New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection
In our state, we have the New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection which hosts Growers Dinners highlighting the products grown and processed locally at restaurants throughout the state.  In 2010, there were five dinners including a benefit for the New Hampshire Food Bank.  Wouldn’t it be great if a restaurant in our Monadnock Region hosted a Growers Dinner in 2011?

Monadnock Matchmaker Event
For two years, the Monadnock Matchmaker Event connects local farmers, chefs, retailers and distributors in our region – think of it as speed dating for farmers.  Last year 60 local food wholesale buyers and sellers, volunteers, and interested community members came to the event to develop new and stronger relationships and bring more local food to you.

Now it’s time for Monadnock Menus to move forward using the momentum gained from the work above plus the work of many other individuals, organizations and businesses who make our local food system stronger.  Stay tuned for phase two of Monadnock Menus – and keep your eye out for the Monadnock Menus sticker in some of your favorite restaurants in our region.

Monadnock Menus is a volunteer based program working with the community and local restaurant owners to enhance and establish relationships between consumers, farmers and restaurants to promote the use of locally produced products.

Eat and Serve Local This Holiday Season!

By Jessica Skinner

Do you know of a restaurant in the Monadnock Region that is dedicated to serving local food and supporting farmers in our community?  Reply to this post and let us know who we could all connect with!

Are you a consumer interested in eating out at least once over the holidays? Consider browsing through our website as well as some other publications to find a restaurant near you that is serving local food.  In addition to our website, check out the publication Our Local Table Monadnock found in hard copy around the region as well as online.  This is a great snapshot of stories from local producers, locations of farmer’s markets and farm stands, and information about CSA’s, or community supported agriculture.  Browse The Boneless Rib for restaurant reviews, visit the Monadnock Localvore facebook page for stories, or explore the Farm Map of the Monadnock Region found in the Resources section of our website.

Are you a restaurant looking to source more local produce?  Contact us and let us know what you’re looking for and we can help you make a direct connection.  The Farm Map also gives you information about what farms in our region are producing.  Consider submitting your information to a group called Vital Communities located in the Upper Valley of NH.  They put together a Valley Food and Farm Guide, which is made available to consumers all over the state!  This is not only a great way to promote the wonderful things you already do, but is a way to make connections with farmers, distributors and additional consumers.

We look forward to eating locally with you this season!  Visit our website regularly to read more stories about Local Food Heros and how you can support your local food economy!  Together, we can build the sustainable food system we envision for our future.

-The Monadnock Menus team

The berries are BLUE at Monadnock Berries

Interested in extending your berry season?  Monadnock Berries is selling this season’s blueberries frozen for $2.50/lb in 5/lb. & 10/lb. bags.  Find them at http://www.monadnockberries.com/, e-mail them at monadnockberries@gmail.com or give them a call! 242-6417.  Monadnock Berries is located in Troy, New Hampshire.  Have your ever purchased from Monadnock Berries?  Share your experience with us!

Local Harvest- real food, real farmers, real community

Interested in locating more locally produced goods with fewer phone calls or clicks of the mouse? Check out Local Harvest, a website of information about farms and what they’re offering.

Nila’s Chutney in the Monadnock Region

Check out this article from the Ledger Transcript about Nila’s Chutney, a participant of the 2010 Monadnock Matchmaker event!

http://www.ledgertranscript.com/article/becoming-new-englander

Local Foods Success Story

With permission from the author, here is an excellent article first published in Our Local Table Monadnock Summer 2010 edition, featuring the good work and success of an area restaurant using locally sourced foods:

Burger & Fries, Please (But Make It Local)

By Marcia Passos Duffy

When Jessica Graveline opened Fritz restaurant in 2003 at The Center of Keene, her mind was focused on fries—not local food. But Graveline began to ponder weightier issues—such as preservation of open spaces, the survival of small farms, and the importance of contributing to the local economy—after she attended a few local food forums held in the region. “I started to realize the importance of using local—on many levels,” says Graveline. By using more local foods in her business Graveline figured she’d not only help preserve local farms, but she’d get fresher, better tasting food. And her customers—“Fritzers” as she likes to call them—would know exactly where the menu’s ingredients came from. “When you put all these things together—and think about the goodwill it could create with customers—it was a no-brainer to start using local ingredients,” says Graveline.

Grandma Knows Best

Graveline started incorporating local foods gradually into the menu by adding ostrich and buffalo meat burgers. The meat was sourced from local farmers’ markets and online through Yankee Farmers’ Market based in Warner, NH. But Graveline’s signature menu item—fries—was still being made with Russet potatoes purchased from traditional restaurant distribution sources. But that changed when her grandmother pointed out the obvious. Graveline spent the early years of her life on Savage Farm, a potato producer in Deerfield, Mass., where her parents rented house on the land. “I hadn’t thought of getting potatoes locally until my grandmother said one day, ‘Why don’t you call up the Savages and get potatoes from them?’” says Graveline. Her grandmother’s suggestion turned out better than expected. Graveline discovered that the Savage Farm grew two varieties of potatoes that were even better than Russets for making fries: Snowden (an oval white flesh potato) and Norwiss (a round, thin skinned white flesh potato).

Both varieties are high-starch, high-density potatoes grown specifically to make potato chips (one of Savage Farm’s major customers is Cape Cod Potato Chips). “These varieties of potatoes can take high heat…which makes them cook up really well as fries,” says Graveline.

Local…When Possible

By the time Graveline moved Fritz to its newer, larger space on Main Street in Keene, she was ready to use even more local foods—and her customers were asking for more.

But Graveline was confronted with a marketing dilemma: “My business model was not based on using solely local foods…but fast, casual and affordable quality food.” If the restaurant were to offer 100 percent local for every item on the menu, the “affordable” part of the business plan would have to change. “I didn’t want to change the whole image of the business.” When produce is in peak season the difference in price between local and “away” produce is negligible. It is more expensive to source all ingredients locally—especially year round. “It is not an option for me to buy local all the time,” Graveline says. “And not everyone is ready to choose local with their discretionary income every time they make a purchase. We need to be competitive and have a price point for everyone.” Her solution has been to keep sourcing some high demand items—namely her signature fries and burgers—with local farmers and add more seasonal items as they become available.

Local, in Season

Today Graveline buys beef from Bo-Riggs Farm in Sullivan. She gives her customers a choice of three burgers: Buffalo Burgers are four ounces, and Bo-Riggs Burgers are five ounces—both priced at $5.75 which includes burger fixings. She has kept a non-locally raised beef burger on her menu at a slightly lower price of $5.23 (for a six-ounce burger). “It’s not a huge price difference… but it is worth the extra money for the higher quality and taste,” she says. And is there a quality difference when cooking with locally raised beef? “You know when you buy supermarket ground beef and it’s gray in the middle? That’s not the case with local ground beef,” says Graveline. “They are not pumping local beef with dyes to make it look fresher because it just is fresher.”

During the summer months, Graveline purchases greens and tomatoes from local farmers, namely Abenaki Springs Farm (Walpole) and Tracie’s Farm (Fitzwilliam). She also uses eggs for salads from a small farm in Marlow called Hodgepodge Farm (“Their 12 year old son delivers eggs to us on Friday,” she notes). Wine is from New Hampshire’s Candia Vineyards. For dessert, puddings are available from Echo Farms in Hinsdale.

This season she plans to sell mushrooms from Wichland Woods (Keene), and jams and jellies from Cheshire Garden (Winchester) in a separate retail space in the restaurant that will be dedicated to selling local products. The benefits of going local have gone above and beyond what Graveline initially hoped when she started. For one, it has opened up a lot of interesting conversations with her customers about food and farms, she says. Best of all, Graveline knows she is doing her small part to help the local economy: “It’s good to know that I’m doing what I can to help our community,” she says.